Defining Long Tail Keywords: Content Marketing’s New Best Friend

Long tail keywords

Defining Long Tail Keywords: Content Marketing’s New Best Friend

Long tail keywordsBy Tyler Weber, Marketing & Communications Director, Digital Solutions, Inc

How often do you find yourself conducting a web search?

To give you a little perspective, in 2013 over 100 billion searches were conducted on Google every month! And that number is expected to be even higher during 2014.

The Internet is a vast sea of information and search engines were created to help us navigate the waters to find the destination that will satisfy our initial goal.

Human beings are utilizing search engines to find information more than ever before, and the usage is only increasing. We use the Internet to do a variety of things, from shopping, to socializing, to keeping up on current events. We use the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find information.

The searches we use are defined as keywords. Keywords are the words or phrases that are used to identify content that will be relevant to a user’s, and when looking at keywords, they are generally broken up into three primary categories:

  • Fat Head Terms: These terms are made up of one word, like “SEO.”
    • Extremely competitive making them nearly impossible to rank for.
    • They only make up about 18.5% of search traffic.
  • Chunky Middle: Made up of two words, like “SEO Minneapolis.”
    • Still very competitive
    • Only 11.5% of search traffic qualifies here
  • Long Tail Keywords: Searches using three or more words.
    • Less competition, meaning they are much easier to rank for.
    • Makes up as much as 70% of search traffic.

So, you can see that long tail keywords are a big deal! Which brings us to the point of this article. Lets set define our new favorite term:

Defining Long Tail Keywords:

A long tail keyword is a phrase made up of three or more words that are collectively searching for something more specific than if using a single word.


“SEO” is not a long tail keyword, but “SEO for small businesses in Minneapolis” creates a more specific search which is, by definition, a long tail keyword.

In addition to the fact that long tail keywords make up a vast majority of search traffic, there are a variety of other very important benefits of turning the focus from the highly competitive keywords to longtail keywords:

  • Less competition – Because there is a much higher number of word combinations (this is pretty obvious), there is much fewer competitors for long tail keywords
  • Focused results – Results of long tail keywords are much more focused. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
    No, seriously, go for it! Try searching a “Fat Head” term and see if the results are useful. Then conduct a search using a long tail search and you will see that your search result is much more refined and useful.
  • Ready to convert – People that utilize long tail keywords when searching have a better idea of what they are looking for. They are using specific words and terms that create a narrower search result. This is because the searcher knows what they want.

“People’s keyword searches are increasingly moving toward long-tail because natural language search is becoming more popular and pervasive, especially with the momentum of mobile technology and search.”
– Jason DeMars,

Turning Your Focus to Long Tail Keywords

Since the people conducting long tail searches are already closer to conversion than those conduct other searches, it only makes sense to make them your primary focus!

They are looking for you, so let yourself be found by targeting long tail keywords!

First Step: Compile Keywords

Start by looking at the keywords you already have targeted and just brainstorm some natural alternatives and extensions of those keywords. Heck, you could make a party out of it! Just get your team together, throw in some food, and a whiteboard and go to town! If you are still looking for more long tail keywords, you can use free tools like:

Regardless of which track you go down, you will want to use your resources in order to build a base for your content creation process.

Long tail keywordsStart creating content

You are an expert in your field, which means you know more about what you do than just about everyone else. Become a resource for others to come to to learn. Educate and raise awareness for what you invest so much of your time and efforts in doing. If you are passionate about what you do, allow the passion to spread by creating content on a regular basis. Start writing high quality content on relevant topics.

Anticipate Reality:

We are all busy, but if you want to take this seriously, you will have to invest into these steps. There will be days where you are not going to want to step away and write, or maybe you will have to assign someone within your organization to take on the task of creating content.

Stay committed. Continue to create content focused on the long tail keywords that will complement your message and get you found.

Long tail keywords

Tyler WeberTyler Weber | Marketing & Communications Director
Digital Solutions, Inc

Tyler is a marketing and communications professional specializing in strategic digital communication, social media management, and content marketing. With a background in public relations and non-profit, Tyler enjoys creating the best Internet experience possible through refined and strategic messaging.

Follow him on twitter: @TylerYWBD